India is the second largest smartphone market in the world, which makes it pretty easy to understand why Apple wants to penetrate. The company’s effort to get the greenlight which would see it import used iPhones to India has been turned down.
Apple had filed an application that would have seen it get the go-ahead to sell refurbished iPhones in the country. Bloomberg, cited anonymous telecommunications ministry officials as the source of the information. The report also added that Apple suffered similar fate last year when its request was turned down by India’s environment ministry.
India remains one of Apple’s bright spots in terms of sales. The company recorded an impressive 56 percent growth in iPhone sales in India last quarter—contrary to drop in sales in rest of the world.
A glimmer of hope?
Perhaps, there could be light at the end of the tunnel for the smartphone company as Rajat Agrawal of Mashable reports that discussions are yet to be concluded—citing sources close to the matter.
Perhaps, Apple has every reason to want its application approved considering the positive feedbacks its keeps getting about the Indian smartphone market. The Indian market, against all odds is not showing any sign of slowing down. While other major markets like China continue to record slow growth in sales; the Indian market continues to record phenomenal growth.
During last week’s earnings call, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook had emphasized the need for the company to get the iPhone to as many users as it could in India. “We’ve been working in India now for a couple of years or more, but we’ve been working with great energy over the last 18 months or so, and I’m encouraged by the results,”
Apple’s dream of expanding the sales of its device is hinged on its ability to sell what it calls refurbished iPhones.
Rivals see Apple’s plan differently
While Apple may not see anything bad in its plan to import used iPhones to India, its rivals think and feel differently. They (rivals) have of a strong view that allowing the Cupertino-based company to sell refurbished iPhones would lead to a torrent of used devices. The manufacturers also argued that the move would hinder the Make-in-India program that is aimed at encouraging local manufacturers.
Apple is lagging behind competition in India as its devices are not budget-friendly in a country where consumers are inclined towards affordable phones. The company understands this and sees importation of refurbished iPhones as one of the ways to deal with the problem.
Speaking on India’s potentials and his company’s plan to further improve its share of the market, Cook in an interview on CNBC said:
“India will be the most populous country in the world in 2022,” Cook said. “More than half the population is 25 years old or younger. LTE penetration is still very low in India and once that happens, there is huge potential. The retailers selling iPhones in India are not huge retailers and carriers do not sell phones.”
Apple’s response is still being awaited.